Undoing Chinese Privilege in Singapore through Reading with the Other

  • dl6admin Journals
  • Stephen Lim

Abstract

Contemporary cultural studies in USA have seen the rise of whiteness studies that seek to understand the nature of white privilege and its conditions of possibility. Despite calls from several activists and academics to look at how this resonates and yet deviates from Chinese privilege in Singapore, they have not gained much traction in local discussions in and outside the academia. Thus in this paper, I come as a subject, conditioned by middle-class Chinese heteronormative patriarchal privilege in Singapore but yet belonging to what is perceived to be a western religion, Christianity, to engage with the question of ‘Chinese Privilege’ through a contrapuntal reading of a story from the Bible in the book of Daniel, chapter 1 with Alfian Sa’at’s anthology, Malay Sketches (2012). The aim of this paper is to seek the undoing of my Chinese privilege while attempting to avoid the narcissism of navel-gazing in order to think deeper what it means following Gayatri Spivak, to ‘learn to learn from below’. I achieve this through surfacing the struggle of hiddenness in the story of Daniel by inflecting it through experiences of Malay marginalisation so as to alienate a text that is often (mis)used to reinforce epistemologies of ignorance to Chinese privilege. 

Abstract

Contemporary cultural studies in USA have seen the rise of whiteness studies that seek to understand the nature of white privilege and its conditions of possibility. Despite calls from several activists and academics to look at how this resonates and yet deviates from Chinese privilege in Singapore, they have not gained much traction in local discussions in and outside the academia. Thus in this paper, I come as a subject, conditioned by middle-class Chinese heteronormative patriarchal privilege in Singapore but yet belonging to what is perceived to be a western religion, Christianity, to engage with the question of ‘Chinese Privilege’ through a contrapuntal reading of a story from the Bible in the book of Daniel, chapter 1 with Alfian Sa’at’s anthology, Malay Sketches (2012). The aim of this paper is to seek the undoing of my Chinese privilege while attempting to avoid the narcissism of navel-gazing in order to think deeper what it means following Gayatri Spivak, to ‘learn to learn from below’. I achieve this through surfacing the struggle of hiddenness in the story of Daniel by inflecting it through experiences of Malay marginalisation so as to alienate a text that is often (mis)used to reinforce epistemologies of ignorance to Chinese privilege. 

Published
2018-08-20
How to Cite
JOURNALS, dl6admin; LIM, Stephen. Undoing Chinese Privilege in Singapore through Reading with the Other. GSTF Journal of Law and Social Sciences (JLSS), [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 10, aug. 2018. ISSN 2251-2861. Available at: <http://dl6.globalstf.org/index.php/jlss/article/view/1742>. Date accessed: 18 dec. 2018.